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Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76

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Computers in Human Behavior

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/comphumbeh

Full length article

Facebocrastination? Predictors of using Facebook for procrastination

and its effects on students well-being
Adrian Meier*, Leonard Reinecke, Christine E. Meltzer
Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Procrastinating with popular online media such as Facebook has been suggested to impair users well-
Received 13 January 2016 being, particularly among students. Building on recent procrastination, self-control, and communica-
Received in revised form tion literature, we conducted two studies (total N 699) that examined the predictors of procrastination
30 April 2016
with Facebook as well as its effects on students academic and overall well-being. Results from both
Accepted 12 June 2016
studies consistently indicate that low trait self-control, habitual Facebook checking, and high enjoyment
of Facebook use predict almost 40 percent of the variance of using Facebook for procrastination.
Moreover, results from Study 2 underline that using Facebook for the irrational delay of important tasks
increases students academic stress levels and contributes to the negative well-being effects of Facebook
Social network sites use beyond the academic domain. The implications of investigating procrastination as a specic pattern
Facebook of uncontrolled and dysfunctional media use are discussed with regard to research on the uses and
Self-control effects of ubiquitous online media.
Well-being 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
University students

1. Introduction Students, in particular, seem to irrationally delay (i.e., procras-

tinate) important academic tasks in favor of Facebook use, which
The pervasive access to social media such as Facebook creates has been suggested to be responsible for a large part of the negative
new self-control challenges for a growing number of Internet users relationship between Facebook use and academic performance
in different spheres of life (e.g., Hofmann, Vohs, & Baumeister, (Junco, 2012; Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010; Panek, 2014; Rosen
2012; Masur, Reinecke, Ziegele, & Quiring, 2014; Panek, 2014; Xu, et al., 2013; Thompson, 2013). Moreover, initial evidence indicates
Wang, & David, 2016). Student users, in particular, report that the that procrastination with Facebook is particularly detrimental to
social network site (SNS) Facebook makes them lose track of time students well-being (Hinsch & Sheldon, 2013), which is supported
and that they delay tasks they actually intended to get done, such as by research on the negative consequences of general, non-media-
writing term papers or preparing for nal exams, because of related procrastinatory behavior among students (Kim & Seo,
Facebook (e.g, Rosen, Carrier, & Cheever, 2013). Studies nding a 2015; Sirois & Kitner, 2015; Steel, 2007).
negative relationship between conscientiousness and Facebook use Although Facebook is among the most widely used online ap-
among students suggest that low self-control may be a central plications around the globe (Alexa, 2015; Facebook, 2015; Pew
driver of this unintended Facebook use (e.g., Lee-Won, Herzog, & Research Center, 2015) and several independent lines of research
Park, 2015; Wilson, Fornasier, & White, 2010). Moreover, research suggest that Facebook is a frequently used, but detrimental tool for
on the uses and gratications of social media has consistently procrastination (Lavoie & Pychyl, 2001, p. 433) among students,
identied the use of Facebook to put off something I should be evidence of this practice of Facebocrastination is scarce. The pre-
doing (Quan-Haase & Young, 2010, p. 356) as one of the strongest sent research thus aims at furthering our limited understanding of
motives of Facebook use (Papacharissi & Mendelson, 2011; Smock, the uses and effects of procrastination with the popular SNS Face-
Ellison, Lampe, & Wohn, 2011). book. Specically, the predictors of procrastination with Facebook
and its effects on academic and overall well-being will be
* Corresponding author. Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg In the following section, we will rst review evidence on
University Mainz, Jakob-Welder-Weg 12, 55099 Mainz, Germany.
media-related procrastination based on the prevailing under-
E-mail addresses: meier@uni-mainz.de (A. Meier), reineckl@uni-mainz.de
(L. Reinecke), meltzer@uni-mainz.de (C.E. Meltzer). standing of procrastination as irrational task delay (Sirois &

0747-5632/ 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
66 A. Meier et al. / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76

Pychyl, 2013; Steel, 2007). By conceptualizing procrastination with them. In fact, engaging in media use despite conicts with other
Facebook as a self-control failure (Hofmann, Friese, & Strack, 2009; goals and tasks seems to be one of the most common forms of self-
Steel, 2007), we will then identify dispositional (trait self-control) control failure in peoples everyday lives, suggesting a high preva-
and Facebook-specic precursors (habitual Facebook checking and lence of media-related task procrastination. Furthermore, Panek
enjoyment of Facebook use) that could predict the frequency of (2014) recently investigated the role of self-control for college
procrastination with Facebook. Moreover, we will discuss the students media use. In his correlational study, low trait self-control
potentially detrimental effects of procrastination with Facebook on was related to increased time spent on leisure media use and
students academic and overall well-being. Based on two studies decreased time on self-directed learning. From this, he concluded
using data from two student samples, we will subsequently that students often give in to proximal media use opportunities
address the predictors (Studies 1 and 2) and effects (Study 2) of that provide short-term guilty pleasures compared to important,
procrastination with Facebook. The results will be discussed with but aversive academic tasks. Notably, the use of social media was
regard to their implications for everyday social media use as well particularly strongly related to low trait self-control, implying
as future research on the uses and effects of constantly available frequent uncontrolled and possibly procrastinatory use of SNS such
online media. as Facebook.
Research on media multitasking has further underlined that
2. Theoretical background media-induced task-switching during (academic) work is driven by
high arousal and hedonic pleasure elicited by the media activity, as
2.1. Media as tools for procrastination well as low cognitive control over the switching behavior (e.g.,
David, Kim, Brickman, Ran, & Curtis, 2015; Xu et al., 2016; van der
Consistent with recent procrastination literature, we dene Schuur, Baumgartner, Sumter, & Valkenburg, 2015). The ndings of
procrastination as the self-regulatory failure of not exerting self- this line of research suggest that media in general and social and
control necessary for task engagement (Sirois & Pychyl, 2013, p. mobile media in particular are often selected impulsively and in an
116). Essentially, procrastinators give in to pleasant short-term uncontrolled manner during work sessions, although users intend
temptations such as checking Facebook instead of engaging in to work on more important tasks. This media-induced task-
intended, but subjectively aversive tasks such as writing a term switching has been found to signicantly impair students perfor-
paper. According to this typical procrastination scenario, the pro- mance and well-being (e.g., Rosen et al., 2013; Xu et al., 2016).
crastinatory activity (i.e., checking Facebook) provides the pro- Together, the studies outlined above provide implicit evidence
crastinator with immediate gratications such as the satisfaction for high levels of media-related procrastination due to low levels of
of relatedness needs via Facebook use (Reinecke, Vorderer, & self-control and impulsive selection of hedonically pleasant media
Knop, 2014; Sheldon, Abad, & Hinsch, 2011). In contrast, the stimuli. Two recent studies further corroborate this nding by
procrastinated task (i.e., writing a term paper) is often perceived explicitly linking self-control to procrastination with media con-
as stressful, frustrating, or boring and thus increases short-term tent. In a cross-sectional study, Reinecke, Hartmann, and Eden
negative affect during task engagement (Pychyl, Lee, Thibodeau, (2014) found that TV and video game use after work was
& Blunt, 2000). Moreover, procrastinated tasks typically provide perceived as procrastination when participants reported lower
only distal rewards (e.g., good grades or a higher salary) and are levels of state self-control. Procrastination, in turn, was related to
hedonically less attractive in the here and now than proximal higher levels of guilt about media use. The ndings thus suggest
competing activities (e.g., just quickly checking Facebook, getting that participants perceived their uncontrolled after-work media
coffee, or watching a video clip on YouTube). In line with this use as the result of impulsively giving in to media temptation
conceptualization of procrastination, engaging in an intended, but instead of pursuing activities that would have been more aligned
aversive task requires the exertion of self-control since self-control with their long-term goals (e.g., sports). A recent experience sam-
is a crucial ability drawn on by individuals when they prioritize pling study (Reinecke & Hofmann, 2016) further substantiates the
long-term goals over short-term desires (Hofmann et al., 2009; link between media use and self-control failure: Participants re-
Sirois & Pychyl, 2013). ported that media use conicted with other important goals on
A further dening characteristic that distinguishes procrasti- more than half of all media use occurrences (61.2%), underlining
nation from more active and strategic forms of delay is its irrational that media use poses a particularly difcult self-regulatory chal-
and dysfunctional nature (Steel, 2007). Although procrastinators lenge for many people in day-to-day settings. Moreover, higher
seem to experience some short-term positive affect from indulging trait self-control signicantly predicted decreased procrastination
in pleasurable substitute activities such as Facebook use, they with media content, which supports the notion that self-control is a
typically realize that their delay of important tasks is futile, irra- key factor for media-related procrastination (Reinecke & Hofmann,
tional, and self-harming in the long term (Sirois & Pychyl, 2013). 2016).
Hence, the short-term affective benets of irrational delay are
outweighed by its long-term costs (e.g., Tice & Baumeister, 1997). 2.2. Procrastination with Facebook as self-control failure
We thus understand procrastination with Facebook not as a func-
tional gratication sought by or obtained from Facebook use (cf., The available evidence suggests a link between procrastination
Quan-Haase & Young, 2010), but as a dysfunctional behavioral with both ofine and online media and trait self-control, indicating
outcome of decient self-control processes that drive exposure to that media use for procrastination is a consequence of self-control
Facebook. failure. Thus, the rst goal of our research is to investigate whether
Several researchers have recently identied procrastination as a low trait self-control also drives the use of Facebook for procrasti-
pervasive pattern of Internet and computer use (e.g., Breems & nation. In line with self-control research, we refer to trait self-
Basden, 2014; Myrick, 2015). Only few studies, however, have control as individual differences in the capacity to override or
explicitly investigated the predictors of procrastination with media inhibit problematic behavioral tendencies and desires (Hofmann
content and mediated communication so far. Experience sampling et al., 2009; Tangney, Baumeister, & Boone, 2004). Trait self-
research by Hofmann et al. (2012) demonstrates that people control has been found to predict numerous positive behavioral
frequently give in to media desires, even though they try to resist outcomes such as better academic grades, fewer unhealthy eating
A. Meier et al. / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76 67

behaviors, and less substance abuse (e.g., Tangney et al., 2004; de habitually checking Facebook represents an automatic approach
Ridder, Lensvelt-Mulders, Finkenauer, Stok, & Baumeister, 2011). reaction that is likely to interfere with important tasks at hand
Individuals that frequently succeed in restraining their problematic (Hofmann et al., 2009), we believe that it is a key driver of pro-
desires and in attaining their personal goals also report better crastinatory Facebook use. We thus predict that habitually checking
psychological adjustment, less psychopathology, more positive Facebook is positively related to the frequency of procrastination
momentary affect, and more life satisfaction (Hofmann, Luhmann, with Facebook (H2).
Fisher, Vohs, & Baumeister, 2014; Tangney et al., 2004). In conclu- In addition to automatic approach reactions such as habits, we
sion, self-control can be characterized as being among human- further propose that associating enjoyment with specic media
kinds most valuable assets (Hofmann et al., 2014, p. 265) and as a activities is an important predictor of irrational and impulsive se-
key dispositional factor for a wide range of self-regulatory out- lection of these media despite facing important tasks at hand.
comes, including frequent procrastination (Sirois & Pychyl, 2013; Procrastination research (Sirois & Pychyl, 2013) has recently pro-
Steel, 2007). Since prior research has demonstrated that trait self- posed that procrastinators often prioritize the positive affect eli-
control is a negative predictor of procrastination with both ofine cited by hedonically pleasant procrastinatory activities (e.g.,
and online media (Reinecke & Hofmann, 2016), we thus predict meeting friends or watching TV) over the attainment of long-term
that trait self-control is negatively related to the frequency of goals. Thus, associating pleasurable experiences and enjoyment
procrastination with Facebook (H1). with a certain activity (e.g., Facebook use) increases the probability
Beyond dispositional levels of self-control, prior research sug- that individuals are tempted by this activity when they simulta-
gests that impulsive selection of hedonically tempting media ac- neously face an aversive task (Sirois & Pychyl, 2013). Notably, an
tivities contributes to uncontrolled and procrastinatory use of early study on Internet use and procrastination by Lavoie and
these media. Thus, the second goal of our research is to investigate Pychyl (2001) supports this notion of the pivotal role of enjoy-
whether impulsive media selection is a further predictor of pro- ment for procrastination. In their cross-sectional survey, the au-
crastinatory Facebook use, operating as an antagonist to the self- thors found that participants who perceived Internet use as more
control efforts of limiting ones media use when working on entertaining and enjoyable also reported higher levels of online
intended tasks. Recent research indicates that self-control failure procrastination. Accordingly, they concluded that Internet users
is often driven by strong impulsive desires that overwhelm in- appear to be entertaining themselves into task postponement
dividuals self-control ability (Heatherton & Wagner, 2011; (Lavoie & Pychyl, 2001, p. 441). Recent research further indicates
Hofmann & van Dillen, 2012; Hofmann, Kotabe, & Luhmann, that Facebook use is a highly enjoyable activity that satises basic
2013). Such impulsive behavior is particularly likely when in- psychological needs through online entertainment and social
dividuals are confronted with stimuli that elicit strong automatic interaction (Reinecke, Vorderer et al., 2014; Sheldon et al., 2011).
reactions. According to Hofmann et al. (2009), individuals asso- Combining these results on the enjoyment of Facebook use with the
ciate desirable stimuli (e.g., a delicious candy) with automatic predictions made by procrastination research (Sirois & Pychyl,
impulses. Specically, individuals develop automatic approach- 2013), we argue that higher enjoyment of Facebook use should
avoidance tendencies towards desired stimuli. The stronger these increase the risk of being tempted by Facebook and, hence,
automatic tendencies are, the more likely the execution of impulsively selecting Facebook even if it conicts with more
impulsive behavior (e.g., reaching for the candy jar) becomes, even important activities. We thus predict that the enjoyment of Face-
if it is inconsistent with long-term goals (e.g., weight loss) book use is positively related to the frequency of procrastination
(Hofmann et al., 2009). with Facebook (H3).
We propose that this inuence of automatic approach reactions In this section, we have argued that the frequency of procras-
on impulsive behavior can be applied to media selection as well. tination with Facebook can be predicted by low trait self-control
Specically, we argue that automatic approach reactions predict and impulsive selection of Facebook due to strong checking
procrastination with Facebook as a form of self-control failure. The habits and high Facebook enjoyment. Initial evidence further sug-
importance of automatic approach reactions for media use is sub- gests that procrastination with Facebook affects the well-being of
stantiated by research on media habits (e.g., LaRose, 2010; Naab & Facebook users (e.g., Hinsch & Sheldon, 2013), particularly in the
Schnauber, 2014): In many situations, users do not deliberately academic domain (Kim & Seo, 2015; Sirois & Kitner, 2015; Steel,
ponder over whether or not they should engage in media use (e.g., 2007). However, prior research on the consequences of procrasti-
check their Facebook account). Instead, media exposure is initiated nation with media content and mediated communication is scarce.
unconsciously through media habits. Media habits thus represent We thus aim at extending prior research by investigating the link
automatic behavioral responses that rely on mental scripts (LaRose, between procrastination with Facebook and students well-being.
2010; Naab & Schnauber, 2014) and learned stimulus-response In the following section, we will rst review the available evi-
associations (Gardner, 2015). More specically, habits are charac- dence on the consequences of procrastination and then link these
terized by automatic and impulse-driven initiation of behavior results to recent research suggesting negative effects of pro-
(Gardner, 2015; Gardner, Abraham, Lally, & Bruijn, 2012; Naab & crastinatory Facebook use on well-being.
Schnauber, 2014). Thus, the more habitually a medium is used,
the more likely the medium is selected automatically and 2.3. Consequences of procrastination with Facebook
Several studies underline that Facebook use is a strongly Research has identied several detrimental consequences of
habitual activity (Giannakos, Chorianopoulos, Giotopoulos, & procrastination for task performance and well-being. A specic
Vlamos, 2013; Papacharissi & Mendelson, 2011; Smock et al., focus of this research has been on the consequences of dilatory
2011) and that texting applications such as the Facebook behavior in the academic domain (Kim & Seo, 2015; Steel, 2007).
messenger are used in a highly automatic and impulsive fashion Procrastination is particularly prevalent among university students,
(Bayer, Dal Cin, Campbell, & Panek, 2016). A recent multi-method who typically face complex tasks in self-directed learning settings
study found that Facebook is among the most frequently that leave a lot of leeway for slacking and irrational delay. More-
checked mobile applications, suggesting that automatic selection over, Facebook seems to be a particularly prominent tool for pro-
in form of habitual Facebook checking is an integral part of Face- crastination among students (Hinsch & Sheldon, 2013; Quan-Haase
book use (Oulasvirta, Rattenbury, Ma, & Raita, 2012). Since & Young, 2010). In the present investigation, we thus focus on the
68 A. Meier et al. / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76

negative effects of procrastination with Facebook in the college dysfunctional activity that is essentially characterized by a mean-
student population.1 ingless wasting of time, these results clearly suggest negative ef-
A large body of research underlines the negative consequences fects of procrastination with Facebook on affective well-being.
of procrastination for academic performance (Kim & Seo, 2015; Moreover, a recent intervention study found that decreases in so-
Steel, 2007). Delaying intended academic tasks can result in cial media use were associated with decreased procrastination and
poorer performance on subsequent trials to complete the tasks, for increased cognitive well-being (i.e., life satisfaction) over time
example, because time pressure rises (Ferrari, 2001). As students (Hinsch & Sheldon, 2013). Together, the available evidence suggests
become aware of their decreasing performance due to procrasti- that procrastination with social media may play a signicant role in
nation, they start to ruminate (Flett, Stainton, Hewitt, Sherry, & Lay, the negative relationship between general Facebook use and
2012) and worry (Sto ber & Joormann, 2001) about their delay, overall well-being. Accordingly, we propose that procrastination
which leads to increased anxiety (Lay & Schouwenburg, 1993) and with Facebook contributes to the strains that Facebook use places
feelings of guilt (Pychyl et al., 2000). These negative self- on students overall well-being beyond the academic domain. We
evaluations greatly impair procrastinators psychological well- thus hypothesize that the frequency of procrastination with Face-
being. Specically, several studies show a strong link between book is positively related to Facebook-induced strains on students
procrastination and stress: As procrastinators nally tackle their overall well-being (H5).
postponed work, they typically struggle with the drawbacks of To address the hypothesized predictors (H1eH3) and detri-
decreased time for task completion as well as negative self- mental effects (H4eH5) of procrastination with Facebook, we
evaluative thoughts and emotions, which increases levels of conducted two studies. Study 1 was designed to establish, whether
stress (e.g., Flett et al., 2012; Sirois & Kitner, 2015; Sirois, 2014). Facebook is a frequently used tool for procrastination among
Furthermore, in a longitudinal study conducted among students students and whether the frequency of procrastination with Face-
(Tice & Baumeister, 1997), procrastination of academic tasks was book can be predicted by trait self-control (H1), habitually checking
not only related to stress as the deadline got closer during the se- Facebook (H2), and the enjoyment of Facebook use (H3). Study 2
mester, but also to symptoms of stress-related illness. was designed as a follow-up study with two primary goals: (a) to
Taken together, the results from procrastination research test whether the hypothesized predictors of procrastination with
clearly demonstrate the negative consequences of procrastinatory Facebook can be replicated in a second student sample and (b) to
behavior for students academic performance and well-being (Kim examine whether procrastination with Facebook is positively
& Seo, 2015; Sirois & Kitner, 2015). We propose that procrastina- associated with academic stress (H4) and Facebook-induced strains
tion with Facebook will have similar detrimental effects in the (H5). Additionally, Study 2 addressed some of the methodological
academic domain and that these effects extend to students overall limitations of Study 1.
well-being. This rationale is supported by communication research
linking Facebook use to decreased academic performance (e.g., 3. Study 1
Junco, 2012; Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010; Rosen et al., 2013),
which suggests that students frequently and irrationally turn to 3.1. Method
Facebook instead of their academic tasks (i.e., procrastinate with
Facebook). Due to the resulting decrease in academic performance, 3.1.1. Participants
procrastination with Facebook could thus elicit strong stress re- In Study 1, hypotheses H1eH3 were tested with data from a
actions in the academic domain (e.g., feeling crushed or over- convenience sample of student Facebook users. Participants were
whelmed by the academic work that is piling up due to recruited by 30 undergraduate students through their online social
procrastination). Accordingly, we predict that the frequency of networks on Facebook. Our student recruiters were enrolled in the
procrastination with Facebook is positively related to academic communication program at a large University in Germany. Re-
stress (H4). cruiters were asked to distribute the link to an open online survey
Beyond these effects of procrastination with Facebook on among their friends on Facebook via public status updates, by
domain-specic academic stress, procrastination research un- posting in Facebook groups, or by writing personal messages.
derlines the detrimental consequences of procrastination for stu- When following the link, participants were rst provided with
dents overall well-being (i.e., their well-being beyond the academic general information about the aim of the study and then asked for
domain) (Steel, 2007). Initial evidence from cross-sectional and their consent. Afterwards they completed the measures reported
experience sampling research has also linked Facebook use to below as well as additional questions about their general social
impaired overall well-being among students (Kross et al., 2013; media use. Finally, participants provided demographic information
Satici & Uysal, 2015). Experimental research by Sagioglou and and were asked whether they studied at a German university.
Greitemeyer (2014) further indicates that Facebook use impairs Seven hundred seventy-one individuals started the survey, 480 of
affective well-being (e.g., current mood) because it is perceived as which completed the questionnaire (62%). Of those 480 re-
less meaningful, less useful, and more of a waste of time than spondents, 120 were excluded because they were not students and
other (online) activities (p. 361). Since procrastination is a highly another ve cases were excluded due to missing data. Thus, our
nal sample consisted of N 354 student Facebook users (71.2%
female, Mage 22.89, SD 2.51).
Frequent use of Facebook was a common activity in the
Although more prevalent among students, procrastination is also a highly sample: Seventy-eight percent of participants reported that they
relevant and detrimental behavior in the general population. Studies using multi-
use Facebook on six or seven days of a typical week. On average,
national samples underline that procrastinatory behavior can become chronic
and problematic for about 20% of the adult population (Ferrari, Diaz-Morales, participants estimated their use of Facebook at about 73 min per
OCallaghan, Diaz, & Argumedo, 2007; Steel & Ferrari, 2013). Accordingly, we day (SD 77). Compared to the results of a representative study
believe that procrastination with widely popular online media such as Facebook is on German Internet users (Busemann, 2013), these usage pat-
also relevant in the general population. However, for the purpose of this early terns closely resemble those of the German population between
research on the psychological predictors and effects of procrastination with media
use, we focus on students as a population that is particularly likely to procrastinate
the ages 14 to 29. In this population, 75 percent report daily
with online tools such as Facebook (Hinsch & Sheldon, 2013; Quan-Haase & Young, social media use and an average of 87 min spent on social media
2010; Steel, 2007) per day.
A. Meier et al. / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76 69

Table 1
Means, standard deviations, scales, reliabilities, and zero-order correlations for SEM variables (Study 1).

M SD Range a CR 1. 2. 3. 4.

1. Trait self-control 2.94 0.72 1e5 0.82 0.82 e

2. FB checking habit 3.99 1.74 1e7 0.87 0.87 0.17** e
3. FB enjoyment 3.73 0.92 1e5 0.75 0.75 0.04 0.21** e
4. Frequency of procrastination with FB 3.43 0.98 1e5 0.90 0.90 0.40*** 0.36*** 0.25*** e

Note. Based on N 354 participants and two-tailed signicance tests. High values (5 or 7) represent high levels for each construct. FB Facebook. CR composite reliability.
p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001.

3.1.2. Measures 3.2. Results

All constructs were measured using multi-item Likert scales,
which showed satisfactory internal consistencies (Cronbachs In order to establish whether Facebook is used as a tool for
alpha) and composite reliabilities (CR) > 0.70 (see Table 1 for details procrastination as suggested by prior research, we rst conducted a
on reliabilities, means, and standard deviations).2 We conducted a descriptive analysis of the reported frequency of procrastination
series of exploratory factor analyses (EFA) with varimax rotation on with Facebook. Including all four items used to measure procras-
all scales in Study 1 to rst test the structure of each construct tination with Facebook in a mean index and using a conservative
before conducting further analyses. estimate (M < 2.00 on a scale from 1 to 5), only nine percent of
Trait self-control was measured with eight items from the Brief participants (n 31) reported that, on average, they had never
Self-Control Scale (Tangney et al., 2004), which assesses the indi- procrastinated with Facebook in the last half year. In fact, pro-
vidual capacity to resist temptations and control unwanted urges. crastination with Facebook was found to be a frequent behavior in
The items (e.g., I am good at resisting temptation) were measured our student sample (M 3.43, SD 0.98, scale 1e5).
on a scale from 1 (does not apply at all) to 5 (fully applies). The scale Before testing our hypotheses, we then investigated the
showed a unidimensional structure (eigenvalue 2.93) and convergent and discriminant validity of all constructs based on the
acceptable factor loadings ranging from 0.48 to 0.74, which corre- average variance extracted (AVE), the maximum shared variance
sponds with the results of a recent revision of the scales psycho- (MSV), and the average shared variance (ASV). Convergent validity
metric properties (Lindner, Nagy, & Retelsdorf, 2015). was satisfactory for all scales with AVEs > 0.50, except for trait self-
Participants Facebook checking habit was assessed with four control (AVE 0.37). However, all variables, including trait self-
items from the Self-Report Habit Index (Verplanken & Orbell, control, showed satisfactory discriminant validity with AVEs
2003). These four items (I often check my Facebook account considerably larger than the MSV and ASV values. The suboptimal
without having to consciously remember, Using Facebook is level of convergent validity for trait self-control corresponds with
something I do without thinking., Sometimes I start using Face- the moderate factor loadings found in our previous exploratory
book before I realize Im doing it., While logging in on Facebook, I factor analysis (see 3.1.2 Measures). Although these values
think about completely different things.) reect automatic acti- demonstrate room for improvement, they mirror the ndings of a
vation of Facebook checking behavior (Gardner et al., 2012) and recent investigation of the psychometric properties of the Brief
were measured on a scale from 1 (does not apply at all) to 7 (fully Self-Control Scale (cf., Lindner et al., 2015). This low convergent
applies). The scale showed a unidimensional structure validity is indicative of the complexity of trait self-control, which is
(eigenvalue 2.51) with factor loadings exceeding 0.65. expressed in the diversity of the items of the Brief Self-Control Scale
Enjoyment of Facebook use was measured with two items that (Tangney et al., 2004). However, a unidimensional structure of the
were adapted from studies by Quan-Haase and Young (2010) and scale seems to outperform alternative two-dimensional structures
Smock et al. (2011). Participants responded to the items I use (Lindner et al., 2015). Since the Brief Self-Control Scale is a
Facebook because it is fun and I use Facebook because it is frequently used and prevalidated measure of trait self-control that
entertaining on a scale ranging from 1 (does not apply at all) to 5 shows convergent validity with other self-control measures
(fully applies). The scale had a unidimensional structure (Duckworth & Kern, 2011) and connects to a large body of existing
(eigenvalue 1.20) with factor loadings of 0.77. research (de Ridder et al., 2011), we decided to retain this variable
Finally, participants reported the frequency of their procrasti- in our model in its current form.
nation with Facebook by responding to four items from the Pro- We thus continued our analysis by testing the hypothesized
crastination Scale (Tuckman, 1991), which was already used to relationships. To test H1eH3, we computed a structural equation
measure procrastination with media use in previous research model (SEM) using the AMOS 22 software package. Additionally,
(Reinecke, Hartmann et al., 2014). The items were adapted to means, standard deviations, and zero-order correlations for all SEM
measure Facebook use as irrational procrastinatory behavior (I variables were calculated using SPSS 22 (see Table 1 for details). In
used Facebook although I had more important things to do, I used Model 1 (Fig. 1), trait self-control, Facebook checking habit, and
Facebook although I had more important things to do., I used Facebook enjoyment were included as exogenous variables and the
Facebook although I knew that I had an important task to com- frequency of procrastination with Facebook was included as the
plete., I used Facebook although I had planned to get something endogenous variable. Two covariances between exogenous vari-
done.) on a scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (very often). Partici- ables (checking habit and trait self-control as well as checking habit
pants were asked to estimate the frequency of procrastination with and enjoyment) were included in the model due to moderate zero-
Facebook by thinking about their Facebook use in the last half year order correlations (see Table 1).
when working at a computer. The scale showed a unidimensional The maximum likelihood (ML) method was chosen for model
structure (eigenvalue 2.79) with factor loadings exceeding 0.79. estimation. Although the data were not normally distributed (Mar-
dias multivariate kurtosis estimate 28.109), the ML method was
chosen as it is comparatively robust against variations in kurtosis
(Olsson, Foss, Troye, & Howell, 2000). To cope with non-normality,
All measures used in Studies 1 and 2 can be obtained from the rst author upon
however, all hypotheses were tested using the bootstrapping
70 A. Meier et al. / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76

Trait Self-

* -.41 e1
FB Checking .29 Procrastination
Habit with FB

*** ***
.27 .26

FB Enjoyment

Fig. 1. SEM for trait self-control, Facebook checking habit, and Facebook enjoyment as predictors of procrastination with Facebook (Study 1) Note. Observed structural equation
model based on N 354 participants. Fit indices are c2 316.460, df 130, p < 0.001, c2/df 2.434, CFI 0.932, RMSEA 0.064 (90% C.I.: 0.055, 0.073), SRMR 0.060. Scores in the
gure represent standardized path coefcients. Signicance levels are based on 5000 bootstrap samples with replacement and 95% bias-corrected condence intervals. FB Fa-
cebook. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001.

method. Based on 5000 bootstrap samples with replacement, 95% convenience sample of student Facebook users from Germany.
bias-corrected condence intervals were computed for signicance Analogously to Study 1, participants were recruited via un-
testing of all parameters in Model 1 (Fig. 1). dergraduates social networks on Facebook. Our 28 student re-
The model showed an acceptable t (Little, 2013, pp. 109e117) cruiters were enrolled in the communication program at the same
to the data (c2 316.460, df 130, p < 0.001, c2/df 2.434, University as in Study 1 and followed the same procedure as in
CFI 0.932, RMSEA 0.064 (90% C.I.: 0.055, 0.073), and Study 1. In contrast to Study1, however, non-student participants
SRMR 0.060) and conrmed hypotheses H1eH3 (see Fig. 1). As were ltered out at the beginning of the survey, rather than
expected (H1), trait self-control was negatively and signicantly excluded from data analyses subsequently. Five-hundred sixty-one
related to the frequency of procrastination with Facebook individuals started the survey, 369 of which reported to be students
(b 0.41, p < 0.001). In turn, habitually checking Facebook and completed the questionnaire (66%). A total of 35 cases were
(b 0.29, p < 0.01) and enjoyment of Facebook use (b 0.26, excluded due to missing data, resulting in a nal sample of N 345
p < 0.001) were positively and signicantly related to the frequency student Facebook users (62.3% female, Mage 21.17, SD 1.98).
of procrastination with Facebook, conrming H2 and H3. Together, Intensity of Facebook use was comparable to Study 1 (M 73 min
the three predictors explained 40% of the variance in the frequency Facebook use on a typical day, SD 90).
of procrastination with Facebook (R2 0.40, p < 0.01).
4.1.2. Measures
3.3. Discussion Trait self-control and Facebook checking habit were measured
with the scales outlined in Study 1. A series of EFAs with varimax
Study 1 was designed to assess whether the proposed set of rotation were conducted on all scales in Study 2 to test the structure
predictors (H1eH3) can explain the frequency of procrastination of each construct before conducting further analyses. The scale
with Facebook. The observed structural relationships provided measuring trait self-control again showed a unidimensional
considerable support for the three hypothesized predictors of structure (eigenvalue 2.84) and factor loadings ranging from 0.43
procrastination with Facebook (trait self-control, habitual Facebook to 0.74 (cf., Lindner et al., 2015). The measure of participants
checking, and enjoyment of Facebook use). However, in order to Facebook checking habit also showed a unidimensional structure
reduce the possibility that these results were specic to the sample (eigenvalue 2.09) and factor loadings ranging from 0.55 to 0.83.
under investigation, we aimed at replicating this model in a second The frequency of procrastination with Facebook was measured
sample. In addition to establishing the validity of our hypothesized with the same items used in Study 1. However, we extended the
predictors, Study 2 also aimed at addressing the possible conse- scope of the procrastination measure to include all forms of pro-
quences of procrastination with Facebook (H4 and H5), thus crastinatory Facebook use. Thus, participants in Study 2 were asked
signicantly extending the ndings of Study 1. to base their estimates of the frequency of procrastination with
Facebook on their overall Facebook use (as compared to their
4. Study 2 Facebook use in the last half year in Study 1), including mobile
access to Facebook via smartphones and tablets. Again, the scale
4.1. Method showed a unidimensional structure (eigenvalue 3.13) and factor
loadings exceeding 0.86.
4.1.1. Participants Furthermore, to avoid problems with Heywood cases in the
We conducted a second online survey with data from another subsequent structural equation modelling (Chen, Bollen, Paxton,
A. Meier et al. / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76 71

Curran, & Kirby, 2001), enjoyment of Facebook use was measured frequency of procrastination with Facebook in Study 2 (b 0.33,
with three items in Study 2 (as compared to only two items in Study p < 0.001). Moreover, habitually checking Facebook (b 0.31,
1). The items (I enjoy using Facebook, Using Facebook is fun., I p < 0.001) and enjoyment of Facebook use (b 0.31, p < 0.001)
feel entertained by the use of Facebook.) were taken from a recent were again positively related to the frequency of procrastination
study that specically focused on the enjoyment of Facebook use with Facebook. Thus, all hypothesized relationships (H1eH3) for
(Reinecke, Vorderer et al., 2014). The scale had a unidimensional the predictors of procrastination with Facebook (R2 0.37, p < 0.01)
structure (eigenvalue 1.56) with factor loadings exceeding 0.60. were replicated in Study 2. Furthermore, as hypothesized in H4 and
To assess negative consequences of procrastination with Face- H5, the frequency of procrastination with Facebook was positively
book, two additional variables were included in Study 2: First, related both with academic stress (b 0.28, p < 0.001) and FB-
participants reported their level of perceived academic stress on induced strains on well-being (b 0.44, p < 0.001). Procrastina-
three items adapted from the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, tion with Facebook explained signicant portions of variance in
Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983). The items (I feel very stressed both variables (R2 0.08 and R2 0.19, respectively, both
when I try to get work for my studies done, It feels as if the dif- p < 0.001).
culties in my studies are piling up so high that I cannot overcome As we found substantial direct effects for all hypothesized re-
them., I feel unable to cope with all the upcoming task in my lationships in Study 2, we additionally tested the indirect effects of
studies.) were rated on a scale from 1 (never) to 6 (very often). The trait self-control, checking habit, and Facebook enjoyment on users
scale showed a unidimensional structure (eigenvalue 2.04) with well-being via procrastination with Facebook. To compare possible
factor loadings exceeding 0.80. indirect effects with respective direct effects, we computed an
As a second measure of well-being, participants reported how alternative version of the model depicted in Fig. 2 that additionally
often they perceived strains in different spheres of life as a conse- included six direct paths from our three exogenous variables (i.e.,
quence of their overall Facebook use on a scale from 1 (never) to 6 trait self-control, checking habit, and Facebook enjoyment) to the
(very often). Six items measuring Facebook-induced strains on well- two endogenous variables academic stress and Facebook-induced
being (My Facebook use : impairs my general well-being., strains. Signicance levels of standardized direct and indirect ef-
puts strains on my personal relationships., leads to stress in fects were based on 5000 bootstrap samples with replacement and
my day to day life., makes it more difcult to relax in my day to 95% bias-corrected condence intervals (see Table 3 for details).
day life., impairs my temporary moods., hinders my per- The model showed a good t to the data (c2 443.991, df 337,
sonal growth.) were developed based on prior research (e.g., p < 0.001, c2/df 1.317, CFI 0.975, RMSEA 0.030 (90% C.I.: 0.022,
Beutel et al., 2011; Kross et al., 2013; Sagioglou & Greitemeyer, 0.038), and SRMR 0.048) and results indicated substantial indi-
2014) that assessed negative consequences of Internet use on rect effects. The frequency of procrastination with Facebook
different well-being dimensions (e.g., global, affective, or social signicantly mediated the effects of trait self-control (b 0.09,
well-being, Huta & Waterman, 2014). The scale showed a unidi- p < 0.001), Facebook checking habit (b 0.09, p < 0.001), and
mensional structure (eigenvalue 3.34) and factor loadings Facebook enjoyment (b 0.09, p < 0.001) on academic stress as
exceeding 0.61. All scales in Study 2 showed satisfactory internal well as the effects of trait self-control (b 0.12, p < 0.001),
consistencies (Cronbachs alpha) and composite reliabilities Facebook checking habit (b 0.11, p < 0.001), and Facebook
(CRs) > 0.70 (see Table 2 for details). enjoyment (b 0.12, p < 0.001) on Facebook-induced strains on
students overall well-being.3 Results also indicated several signif-
4.2. Results icant direct effects between the exogenous variables and the two
well-being indicators, which are largely consistent with our general
We began our analysis by testing the convergent and discrimi- argumentation (see Table 3). Notably, however, Facebook enjoy-
nant validity of all constructs based on their AVE, MSV, and ASV ment showed small, but signicant negative direct effects on both
values. As in Study 1, convergent validity was satisfactory for all academic stress (b 0.17, p < 0.05) and Facebook-induced strains
scales with AVEs > 0.50, except for trait self-control (AVE 0.36). (b 0.20, p < 0.01), working in opposite direction to the positive
All variables, including trait self-control, showed satisfactory indirect effects and resulting in nonsignicant total effects (see
discriminant validity with AVEs considerably larger than the MSV zero-order correlations in Table 2).
and ASV values. Consistent with the arguments presented in Study
1 (see 3.2 Results), we decided to continue our analysis albeit
4.3. Discussion
recognizing the limited convergent validity of the trait self-control
Study 2 was designed to replicate the relationships investigated
To replicate the results of Study 1 (H1eH3) and to test the hy-
in Study 1 (H1eH3) and to extend the hypothesized model by
pothesized relationships in H4 and H5, a second SEM was
including possible effects of procrastination with Facebook on
computed. The model (Model 2, Fig. 2) included the same exoge-
users well-being (H4 and H5). The results of Study 2 underline that
nous variables, endogenous variables, and covariances as in Study 1.
trait self-control, habitually checking Facebook, and enjoyment of
Additionally, academic stress (H4) and Facebook-induced strains
Facebook use distinctly contribute to the frequency of procrasti-
(H5) were included as endogenous variables, reecting the conse-
nation with Facebook. Notably, the effects found for the hypothe-
quences of frequent procrastination with Facebook (see Table 2 for
sized relationships showed remarkable equivalence in
details on SEM variables). The data in Study 2 was not normally
standardized size, signicance, and explained variance in both
distributed (Mardias multivariate kurtosis estimate 80.919).
studies (see Figs. 1 and 2 for details).
Thus, again, the model was estimated with the ML method and
In Study 2, we also assessed the frequency of procrastination
signicance of all parameters was tested with the bootstrapping
with Facebook as a predictor of perceived academic stress and
The model showed a good t to the data (c2 507.654, df 343,
p < 0.001, c2/df 1.480, CFI 0.962, RMSEA 0.037 (90% C.I.: 3
Please note that the equivalence in size of the beta coefcients for the indirect
0.030, 0.044), and SRMR 0.070) and supported hypotheses effects is due to the almost equivalent effect sizes for the paths from trait self-
H1eH5 (see Fig. 2). Conrming the results of Study 1, trait self- control, Facebook checking habit, and Facebook enjoyment to procrastination
control was also negatively and signicantly related to the with Facebook as well as subsequent rounding errors (see Fig. 2 for details).
72 A. Meier et al. / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76

Table 2
Means, standard deviations, scales, reliabilities, and zero-order correlations for SEM variables (Study 2).

M SD Range a CR 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

1. Trait self-control 2.87 0.71 1e5 0.81 0.81 e

2. FB checking habit 3.87 1.60 1e7 0.81 0.81 0.17** e
3. FB enjoyment 3.27 0.74 1e5 0.75 0.76 0.08 0.16** e
4. Frequency of procrastination with FB 3.45 1.42 1e6 0.94 0.93 0.36*** 0.36*** 0.33*** e
5. Academic stress 3.36 1.20 1e6 0.86 0.86 0.29*** 0.02 0.04 0.25*** e
6. FB-induced strains 2.00 0.97 1e6 0.88 0.88 0.19*** 0.38*** 0.01 0.40*** 0.19*** e

Note. Based on N 345 participants and two-tailed signicance tests. High values (5, 6, or 7) represent high levels for each construct. FB Facebook. CR composite reliability.
p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001.

Trait Self-
* -.33 e1
-.17 *** Stress
FB Checking .31 Procrastination
Habit with FB
* ***
.44 FB-induced
.16 .31 Strains

FB Enjoyment

Fig. 2. SEM for predictors of procrastination with Facebook and effects on academic stress and FB-induced strains on well-being (Study 2) Note. Observed structural equation model
based on N 345 participants. Fit indices are c2 507.654, df 343, p < 0.001, c2/df 1.480, CFI 0.962, RMSEA 0.037 (90% C.I.: 0.030, 0.044), SRMR 0.070. Scores in the gure
represent standardized path coefcients. Signicance levels are based on 5000 bootstrap samples with replacement and 95% bias-corrected condence intervals. FB Facebook.
p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001.

Table 3
Standardized direct effects of trait self-control, Facebook checking habit, and Facebook enjoyment on academic stress and Facebook-induced strains and respective indirect
effects via procrastination with Facebook (Study 2).

Academic stress FB-induced strains

Direct effect Indirect effect Direct effect Indirect effect

** ***
1. Trait self-control 0.26 [0.40, 0.12] 0.09 [0.16, 0.05] 0.01 [0.14, 0.12] 0.12*** [0.19, 0.07]
2. FB checking habit 0.11 [0.25, 0.02] 0.09*** [0.04, 0.16] 0.33*** [0.20, 0.45] 0.11*** [0.07, 0.18]
3. FB enjoyment 0.17* [0.31, 0.03] 0.09*** [0.04, 0.13] 0.20** [0.32, 0.08] 0.12*** [0.07, 0.19]

Facebook-induced strains on overall well-being. The results support Facebook-induced strains.

the notion that procrastination with Facebook is associated with
higher academic stress and more Facebook-induced strains. 5. General discussion
Moreover, the frequency of procrastination with Facebook medi-
ated the effects of all three predictors in our model (H1eH3) on Several lines of research suggest that Facebook is a frequently
academic stress and Facebook-induced strains on well-being. used tool for procrastination, which could be particularly detri-
Together, the signicant direct and indirect effects found in our mental to the well-being of students. The central aim of this study
SEM analysis provide strong support for our proposed theoretical was to integrate and extend previous ndings on the pro-
model. Intriguingly, our supplemental mediation analysis also crastinatory use of Facebook. Specically, our goal was to a)
revealed an ambiguous role of Facebook enjoyment for students identify important predictors of procrastination with popular on-
well-being: Enjoyment indirectly increased academic stress and line media such as Facebook and b) investigate whether frequent
Facebook-induced strains by increasing procrastination with Face- procrastination with Facebook affects students psychological
book. Simultaneously, however, enjoyment of Facebook use directly well-being in the academic domain and beyond. The ndings from
decreased participants self-reported academic stress and two consecutive studies conrm that students frequently turn to
A. Meier et al. / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76 73

Facebook to procrastinate and consistently support our theoretical link between habitual Facebook checking, increased procrastina-
assumptions on the predictors and effects of procrastination with tion with Facebook, and decreased well-being supports the notion
Facebook. that being permanently online and permanently connected
The rst part of our hypothesized model addressed the pre- (Vorderer & Kohring, 2013) can have negative consequences on
dictors of procrastination with Facebook and highlighted the users everyday lives. Individuals that frequently and habitually
pivotal role of self-regulation processes for using Facebook as a check Facebook to obtain new (social) information and social
means of irrational task delay (i.e., procrastination). Our review interaction seem to be specically prone to use Facebook even in
suggested that trait self-control as well as precursors of impulsive situations where its usage conicts with more important upcoming
media selectiondspecically, habitual Facebook checking and high tasks, which reduces their performance and well-being.
Facebook enjoymentdpredict the frequency of procrastination Although the results from our two studies provide consistent
with online media such as Facebook. The results from our two support for the hypothesized model, the present research comes
studies consistently conrm our assumptions (H1eH3) and un- with a number of limitations. The rst limitation concerns the
derline that procrastination with Facebook is a form of quintes- cross-sectional nature of our data, which connes our structural
sential self-regulatory failure (Steel, 2007, p. 65) driven by low trait model to correlational interpretations. Several of the proposed re-
self-control, strong Facebook checking habits, and high enjoyment lationships could also show a reversed direction of effects: The
of Facebook use. negative affect associated with stress and impaired well-being, for
The second part of our model addressed the potentially detri- example, could also predict students procrastination with Face-
mental effects of procrastination with Facebook on users well- book as it might make students more susceptible to hedonically
being. We specically focused our investigation on students aca- pleasant activities such as Facebook use, even though they have
demic stress and overall well-being, as prior research suggests that important work to complete (Sirois & Pychyl, 2013). However, the
students are among the most likely individuals to be affected by evidence provided by prior research supports the causal directions
procrastination with Facebook. The results from Study 2 support implied by our model. Academic stress, for example, seems to be a
our notion that procrastination with Facebook contributes to both consequence rather than a predictor of procrastination, as
the detrimental consequences of Facebook use in the academic demonstrated by research using longitudinal designs (e.g., Tice &
domain (H4) and to students overall well-being (H5). The more Baumeister, 1997). Moreover, our hypothesized predictors repre-
frequently students procrastinated with Facebook, the more their sent either relatively stable dispositional variables (trait self-
academic stress increased and the more they reported strains control) or patterns of overall Facebook use (Facebook checking
resulting from their overall Facebook use on several indicators of habit and Facebook enjoyment) that should inuence the more
well-being (e.g., temporary mood, personal relationships, and narrowly dened use of Facebook for procrastination and not vice
personal growth). versa. Nonetheless, the reciprocal effects of well-being, self-control,
The present research thus signicantly extends prior work on and procrastination with media content should be investigated by
media-related procrastination. Specically, our studies have two future research using longitudinal or experimental designs.
main implications for research on the uses and effects of (social) A second methodological limitation pertains to the measure we
online media. First, our research integrates the fragmentary evi- used to assess participants level of trait self-control in both studies.
dence on media-related procrastination and provides a coherent Although the Brief Self-Control Scale (Tangney et al., 2004) is a
model of procrastination with media content and mediated well-established and commonly used measure in self-control
communication as an outcome of decient self-regulatory pro- research (de Ridder et al., 2011) that has shown to be predictive
cesses. The results underline that not only media users capacity for of procrastination with media content (Reinecke & Hofmann, 2016),
general self-control but also their tendency to impulsively and our analyses indicated limited convergent validity in two student
unintentionally select specic media activities due to strong habits samples. Future research should thus test whether the connection
and high media enjoyment drive procrastinatory media use. between trait self-control and procrastination with Facebook can
Together, our set of predictors signicantly and consistently be replicated with different measures of self-control capacity, such
explained almost 40 percent of the variance in the frequency of as delay of gratication tasks or peer ratings (Duckworth & Kern,
procrastination with Facebook in both studies. Our work thus ex- 2011).
tends prior communication research by demonstrating that users A third limitation concerns our focus on students. Procrastina-
unique patterns (i.e., habitualization) and appraisal (i.e., enjoyment) tion is particularly common and detrimental in the academic
of media use crucially inuence the prevalence of procrastination context, because students have considerable leeway in switching
with these media beyond the mere quantity of media use (cf., between self-directed learning sessions and unstructured leisure
Hinsch & Sheldon, 2013). time (Kim & Seo, 2015). Thus, students performance and well-
Second, our results underline that these specic patterns of being is particularly dependent on their self-regulatory skills,
Facebook use affect users well-being: As indicated by the signi- specically, the ability to resist ubiquitously available online and
cant mediation effects in Study 2, trait self-control, enjoyment, and ofine leisure temptations such as media use (Hofmann et al.,
habitualization of Facebook use were linked to increased academic 2012). It is unclear and an important task for future research to
stress and Facebook-induced strains by increasing the frequency of investigate whether our theoretical model of online procrastination
procrastination with Facebook. Beyond conrming the central role with Facebook can be replicated in the general population. Notably,
of self-control for the consequences of procrastination with Face- research on procrastination with media content has consistently
book, our results thus advance prior research by revealing the conrmed frequent use of online media for procrastination among
crucial role of enjoyment and habitualization in the interplay of diverse adult samples (e.g., Lavoie & Pychyl, 2001; Myrick, 2015;
procrastinatory Facebook use and well-being: At rst sight, the Reinecke & Hofmann, 2016). We are thus condent that the same
enjoyment of Facebook use may seem to represent a primarily basic psychological self-control processes identied in the present
functional Facebook experience that satises the users need for study apply to procrastination with online media in the general
affective well-being and mood repair. However, our results indicate population.
that appraising media use as a highly enjoyable activity can also A nal limitation concerns our focus on the negative outcomes of
drive dysfunctional forms of media use due to increased procrasti- procrastination with Facebook. As suggested by recent research
nation that subsequently impairs users well-being. Moreover, the (Sirois & Pychyl, 2013), procrastination is driven by procrastinators
74 A. Meier et al. / Computers in Human Behavior 64 (2016) 65e76

desire for short-term increases in positive affect and their need for such as Facebook may mediate the negative effects of media
distraction from aversive tasks. However, the results from our multitasking on performance and well-being. When students
mediation analysis in Study 2 revealed that positive affect associ- frequently switch from academic ofine tasks to online media ac-
ated with Facebook use (i.e., Facebook enjoyment) did not only tivities due to impulsive media selection, their media use can easily
increase participants procrastination with Facebook, but also extend to the point that it conicts with more important tasks. The
served as a protective factor that seemed to reduce participants frequency of media-induced task switching (Rosen et al., 2013, p.
academic stress levels and the frequency with which they 948) could thus increase the frequency of reported procrastination
perceived strains on their well-being as a consequence of their with media, which, in turn, should mediate the negative effects of
Facebook use. Thus, it would be particularly interesting to further task-switching on performance and well-being. Moreover, multi-
investigate whether procrastination with Facebook results in tasking research could signicantly benet from investigating
(short-term) affective well-being benets, for example, through whether students (trait and state) capacity for self-control oper-
need satisfaction (Reinecke, Vorderer et al., 2014), self-afrmation ates as a moderator of these effects.
(Toma & Hancock, 2013), or social sharing on Facebook (Choi & Finally, our study did not address how individuals cope with
Toma, 2014). A recent study found that social support via Face- procrastinatory media use that interferes with their long-term
book can serve as a stress buffer (Nabi, Prestin, & So, 2013), which, goals and psychological well-being. Hofmann et al. (2009) pro-
in turn, may counteract the negative well-being effects of irrational pose that in reaction to detrimental self-control failure, individuals
procrastination with Facebook. Consequently, we believe that reect on their behavior and form deliberate self-control standards.
future research can benet from a more ne-grained perspective Specically, they argue that implementing restraint standards (e.g.,
on the uses and effects of online media such as Facebook by keeping a diet) should counteract automatic impulsive reactions
addressing the dynamics between short-term benets and long- such as habitual media selection. Media users struggling with
term costs of Facebook use for well-being, particularly in the frequent media-related procrastination could thus attempt to
context of procrastination. implement restraint standards that reduce their dilatory media use.
While our research provides several key insights into the nature Recent research suggests that behavioral interventions, for
of procrastination with Facebook as well as the role of self-control example, temporary reductions in Facebook use, are effective in
processes in media use, several open questions remain. Specically, decreasing overall procrastination and in increasing life satisfaction
the generalizability of our proposed predictor model should be among students (Hinsch & Sheldon, 2013). Moreover, many users
investigated with regard to other ofine and online media. It could seem to voluntarily commit to such Facebook vacations during
be a promising task for future research to compare how the unique periods of increased work demand (Rainie, Smith, & Duggan, 2013).
affordances of popular interpersonal (e.g., Instagram, Snapchat, or Further investigating media diets and media hiatus as preventive
WhatsApp), interactive (e.g., browser games), and non-interactive and interventive self-control strategies (Hofmann & Kotabe, 2012)
(e.g., Netix) forms of social and entertaining online media use aimed at reducing procrastination thus seems to be a fruitful
shape the prevalence and consequences of procrastination. Anec- endeavor for future research.
dotal evidence further suggests that non-hedonic online media
such as news websites or Wikipedia, or less demanding online tasks 6. Conclusion
such as checking ones email, are the preferred tools for procrasti-
nation among some individuals. It could be argued that these forms Overall, the present research furthers our understanding of
of procrastination are easier to justify and rationalize as they are uncontrolled and potentially detrimental media use by investi-
more likely to be perceived as meaningful activities, leaving pro- gating what drives students use of Facebook for procrastination.
crastinators with less detrimental or even positive effects on their The results from our two studies crucially extend prior research on
well-being (cf., Sagioglou & Greitemeyer, 2014). We encourage media use and procrastination by demonstrating that trait self-
other researchers to explore the potentially complex interplay be- control and users specic patterns and appraisal of Facebook use
tween the selection of hedonic vs. non-hedonic and meaningful vs. (i.e., habitualization and enjoyment) are crucial predictors of pro-
meaningless media activities for procrastination and its effects on crastination with Facebook. Moreover, our results support the
different dimensions of well-being (e.g., hedonic vs. eudaimonic notion that Facebocrastination signicantly impairs students ac-
well-being, Huta & Waterman, 2014; Oliver & Bartsch, 2010). ademic and overall well-being. We thus hope that our work pro-
Beyond these more general avenues for future research, we vides valuable impulses to future research that aims at addressing
would like to outline two particular benets of a) investigating the ubiquitous conicts between online media use and the de-
procrastination as a specic and reoccurring pattern of media use mands of our day-to-day strivings in work and learning
and of b) integrating self-control theory into research on the uses environments.
and effects of media. We believe that our results provide valuable
impulses for research on the effects of online media use in learning References
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